NC raises salaries for a few thousand state workers to reduce turnover

lbonner@newsobserver.comJanuary 22, 2014 

— A relative handful of state workers are getting raises of up to 10 percent, Gov. Pat McCrory’s office announced Wednesday.

The targeted increases are for certain professions such as nurses, law enforcement officers, accountants and computer specialists and are aimed at reducing employee turnover in high-demand positions. The legislature included a $7.5 million salary adjustment fund in the state budget and authorized raises for eight specific reasons.

About 1,200 nurses and 600 law enforcement officers received raises of up to 4 percent and about 1,400 employees received raises of up to 10 percent. In all, 3,221 employees received an average of 4.2 percent increases. The state employs nearly 90,000 people.

McCrory has also said he wants teachers to get a raise this year. In a news conference Tuesday, he emphasized the need to increase the starting pay for teachers and to reward the best teachers, and said he was working with the legislature to make it happen.

But little has been said publicly about raises for all state employees, and McCrory didn’t mention it Tuesday.

A 1.2 percent raise for teachers and state employees in 2012 has been the only across-the-board salary increase in the last five years.

The salary adjustment fund used for the increases announced Wednesday has risen and fallen over the years, said Dana Cope, executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

He supports the state raising employee salaries closer to market rates, but said there’s never been enough money in the fund to address all inequities.

Cope said he’s been talking with legislative leaders about 3 percent across-the-board raises for state employees.

“That’s what we want, what we’re hoping to get,” he said.

McCrory’s office referred questions about the new raises to the Office of State Human Resources. Officials at the human resources office did not return calls or email messages Wednesday.

Most of the money, 73 percent, was used to bring wages in certain state jobs closer to private sector salaries. Twenty-four percent was used to increase pay for employees who took on more responsibility but had not received raises because of the salary freeze. Two percent was used to reduce pay disparities between employees with comparable duties.

Bonner: 919-829-4821; Twitter: @Lynn_Bonner

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